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TUV SUD partners NUS to promote R&D in 3D-printed biomedical implants

GERMAN testing, inspection and certification company TUV SUD has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Centre for Additive Manufacturing to promote research and development into 3D-printed biomedical implants.

This comes at the time when the manufacturing sector sees additive manufacturing technologies lowering the cost and time needed for rapid prototyping.

The centre aims to apply 3D-printing in personalised patient treatments, as well as fabricating metal implants for clinical trials.

It is important to meet global standards while developing patient-specific medical products, the centre's director Jerry Fuh Ying-Hsi said on Wednesday.

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The agreement was signed at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (Namic) summit, part of the three-day Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific trade show taking place this week.

Speaking at the opening of the summit, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said additive manufacturing technologies such as 3D-printing can potentially reduce the "time-to-market" for products.

For example, 3D-printed clear aligners for teeth-straightening by local start-ups Structo and Zenyum are priced at $2,200, compared with the current market price of S$6,000 to S$10,000.

He added that agencies are also introducing standards to guide the development and adoption of such technologies.

On Wednesday, the Singapore Standards Council, which is overseen by Enterprise Singapore, published a new technical reference that it developed with the Ministry of Defence, the Singapore Armed Forces and other stakeholders.

This is the first of four references to be launched by end-2020 to provide requirements and guidelines for the use of additive manufacturing in military and non-military applications here.

Mr Chee also noted the need for cooperation among companies amid frequent disruptions in industries. TUV SUD, he said, is setting up its Industrial Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Singapore, which is expected to launch early next year.

It will provide skills development programmes and assessment tools.

German conglomerate Siemens, which is opening an Additive Manufacturing Experience Centre here, is partnering Namic in a one-year industry transition programme to bridge the gap between research and development and implementation for additive manufacturing.

THE STRAITS TIMES